Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Pilgrimage

Some people make a pilgrimage to where there family originated, some make a pilgrimage for religious reasons, while some others go on a pilgrimage to a site of history that has always fascinated (for example ask my mom about her trip to Dallas for JFK!)… our pilgrimage this weekend is based in something slightly different – BEER! We are headed to the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver for several days of amazing craft beer.

Most of you know me well enough to know my love of beer but for anyone new to the party let me fill you in. I thought I hated beer when I was in college and a few years after that. What I didn’t know was that I just hated lousy beer. All I had ever been offered to drink was disgusting liquids that shouldn’t even be called beer such as PBR, Busch Light, Natty Lite, Bud, Coors Miller etc. BLECH!!!! Imagine my amazement upon moving to Houston and someone insisting that I try the local brew Saint Arnold’s.  I was literally dumfounded – I actually loved this stuff! The dorky engineer mind that I have had to analyze why would I like this stuff but not the others. Well that analysis didn’t take long to say the least because the answer was obvious. Craft beer - and I’ll stretch that to say good beer in general (this term does not apply to Miller Bud Coors EVER!) - has great taste (no not “Great Taste Less Filling” like the stupid crap beer commercial) and often times fantastic complexity (not that dissimilar to a wine).  Suddenly I couldn’t get my hands on enough different craft beers. I started with the whole line of Saint Arnold’s and discovered with the exception of super hoppy beers (IPAs generally) I like a wide variety of beers. After discovering that I would now be providing Brock (the owner of Saint Arnold’s) with a significant amount of my paycheck every year I started to also branch out into other breweries. I go into Spec’s (our local liquor store) looking for what’s new and different because I just have to try them all once!

When Ken and I started dating he was a Miller Lite drinker. It didn’t take long for me to inform him that that shit would never be allowed in my house under any circumstances. I introduced him to craft beers – specifically Saint Arnold’s to start! – and  to my amazement found that he is a total Hop Head and he just didn’t know it! He loves IPAS – the hoppier the better. What a switch huh?!

When Ken and I would travel my first stop on the Internet once we selected a destination was to find what breweries and brewpubs were in the area.  Google search and MapQuest and lots of printouts of directions! Thanks to my buddy Kevin I no longer have to do that. He told me about this awesome App on the iPhone called Find Craft Beer that will use your GPS to tell you what breweries are nearby…. PRICELESS! I have frequently joked that Ken married me for 2 reasons – beer & baseball. To be honest it’s only half joking ;)

I am a beer snob. I will admit it. If the only beers being offered are inferior ones I won’t drink. The only exception to this rule is that after the Rock N Roll Marathons (Well Half marathons for me) Michelob Ultra is a sponsor so you get 2 free beers at the finish line. To me these are like “Making love in a canoe” so I find it almost palatable to drink those as a rehydration drink then and only then. (By the way if you don’t know what I mean by my canoe statement you might be offended by me explaining it to you!)

So let the Beer Pilgrimage begin… First stop on the tour will be a day in Fort Collins and then it’s down to Denver for the full on GABF festivities. I can’t promise that I will be capable of blogging in the next few days but will give you a full run-down after it’s all done!


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